George F. Campbell

The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay


Old cigar bands and the embossed gilt paper off cigar boxes can be quite effective also when cut out carefully. You can find useful little crests and shields ready made, and if you're lucky thin strips of gilt mouldings sometimes in imitation rope pattern. Save any pieces of greetings cards or other stationery you may come across with gilt or embossed designs. Gunports often were cut thru the transom. Cut these after mounting the transom.

Having overlong avoided the bow, let us turn to the ship's HEAD CONSTRUCTION. This will bear some study as at first sight it is a complicated feature, at least in most ships prior to mid 19th century. Reduced to its elements most of it is simple structure, with the cheeks and main rail giving the only hard times. Fig. 32. Complete the head knee as described previously. Cut gammoning holes (for bowsprit gammoning) if called for. Make each cheek in two pieces, shaping the inner part. Fig. 32A, from wood of extra thickness to that it may be shaped to the curve of the hull, then given outer shaping so that its curve blends into the outer piece, Fig. 32B; fit the outer piece, which may be brought to near'done condition before gluing in place.'Make these pieces in pairs, port and starboard, to ensure uniformity.The HEADRAILS, looking down, are generally straight. But in profile they present difficult curves. Fig. 32. Farm people can oven'dry pear or apple twigs, the grain of which matches these curves. City folk would best make them by piecing-up, the long and gradual curve forward shaped from one piece, and the tighter curl up under the cathead. Plastic filler may come in handy for final shaping. Thick plastic sheet may be used for head rails, shape being cut entire from a sheet.

Now place the other rails, which fan back and down from the figurehead. In this basket'like space were set seats of ease for the crew. Smaller ships did not bother with these appointments, offering use much like a hen roost. By mid 19th century, loss of this head structure caused the trend toward waterclosets.

The Head Rails, Main, Middle and Lower, were supported by vertical curved timbers called HEAD TIMBERS, but these are best omitted unless the scale of the model permits you to make them. Alternatively you could fake them by gluing a strip of card across the face of the rails.

The little semicircular structures each side of the bulkhead in Fig. 32 are spaces for the officers' lavatories. Notice also in Fig. 32 that the knightheads are two stout posts each side of the bowsprit below the forecastle deck level. This is the old style bow of large ships. Smaller vessels carried the topsides right around to the stern post and the knightheads were then at the deck level as you can see on the clipper ship Fig. 28. The larger 2 and 3 deck warships did this also after about 1800, when the old style square front forecastle was closed in.

Note that a CABLE BOLSTER is fitted to the anchor hawse to give radius and bearing for the large anchor cable. This is simply an extra thickness of timber. They occur port and starboard, Fig. 32.

The FIGUREHEAD, Fig. 33. The figurehead is worth a little study in itself as it can so easily spoil a good model. It should be made to fit in gracefully with the sweep of the stem. It can be made a full length human figure, male or female Fig. 33A; a half figure or bust Fig. 33B, usually with arms cut short; а Э/4 length figure with the lower body merging in the dress or drapery into the stem 33F; a coat of arms, a crest or shield, Fig. 33G, or a symbolic animal. Some workaday merchant ships omitted the figure altogether and had either a fiddle head Fig. 33C, which was a curved scroll, like the head of a fiddle curling over backwards, or a scroll head curling forward, or else a billet head Fig. 33E which was simply the top of the stem curving forwards (derived from the word bill or beak as for a bird). The billet was the simplest form of all with the minimum fancy work, usually a simple curved line cut into the stem timber.